It's a long story - one you can google or follow links herein if you're interested, but the bottom line is this: Under the guise of needing to act in cases of Bird Flu-type emergencies, the federal government, under Bush, began to draft legislation that would require all small farmers - please note that large argibusiness is exempted - to ID each of their animals and track them throughout their lives.
Remarkably, this even includes documenting in real time - ie, emailing or posting on a government website - each time your horse leaves the property when you go riding or a goat goes to the vet. Every animal in America would have an ID number and would be tracked cradle-to-grave...except for those those that are part of large operations - for whom (no kidding) this would constitute an undue burden. Not a burden for me and my pals; just a burden for Cargill and your 1000-head rancher.
What this really does, because of the way the bill is structured (ie, the way agribusiness has crafted it and lobbied to mold it) is spell the end of small farms. Monsanto loves this bill - so does Cargill. If you're a large corporation growing animals on feedlots and exempt from tracking them - yippee! But, no small farmer will be able to withstand the costs and other burdens of constant tracking and/or the fees and penalties failure or ignorance will produce.
Make no mistake. This is not hyperbole. If you care where your food comes from. Even if you can't buy small-scale meat for financial or location reasons, but can't abide the idea of only multi-national corporations producing the food America eats, please call your congressperson and insist that they stop this. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday. Please call your Senators and tell them you want small farmers to survive, you want local food production to thrive, and you want local control over food, nutrition, and disease issues in your area.
Go to www.nonais.org for more info.